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Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that both takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter and also flies like a plane by tilting its wing-mounted rotors to function as propellers. Combining a helicopter's operational flexibility with the greater speed, range, and efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft, the V-22 can perform such missions as troop/cargo transport, amphibious assault, special operations, and search and rescue.
The V-22 is based on the XV-15 tilt-rotor prototype which was developed by Bell Helicopter and first flown in 1977. The Department of Defense began the V-22 program in 1981, first under Army leadership, but with the Navy/Marine Corps later taking the lead in developing what was then known as the JVX (joint-service vertical take-off/landing experimental aircraft). Full-scale development of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft began in 1986 with first flight in 1989.
The early years of the V-22 Osprey were quite difficult with many problems delaying completion of development. The V-22 Osprey was finally accepted and entered field service with the Marine Corps (2007) and the US Air Force (2009). By 2013, 214 Ospreys were deployed and another 99 were ordered.
V-22 Osprey for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps
V-22 Osprey, classed as a rapid, medium-range tactical lift asset, is an integral part of both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps warfighting concept as well as a key platform for Air Force Special Operations Command. Model variants include:
The motivation for the V-22 aircraft is rooted in the need for long range, rapid deployments that are characteristic of Special Operations. Though some studies have shown helicopters such as the MH-53 Pave Low variant of the CH-53 Super Stallion to be more payload efficient for a radius of action up to 200 nautical miles, SOF missions have more often required a far deeper penetration capability, the forte of the V-22 Osprey.
While the U.S. Army has participated in testing the V-22 Osprey, there were no plans for Army procurement of a V-22 variant for Army use.
The V-22 aircraft is produced by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing Helicopters, with engines produced by Rolls-Royce/Allison. Flight testing and operational evaluation of pre-production V-22s began in early 1997, with procurement of production aircraft approved in April 1997.
V-22 Osprey Specifications and Performance